AVIAGEN has outlined how genetic improvements to broilers are helping to reduce the carbon footprint of chickenmeat production.

Modern broilers generate a carbon footprint that is 50% smaller than their 1970 equivalent because of improvements to Feed Conversion Ratios (FCR), according to Aviagen.

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Because of an FCR improvement of 1.5-2.0 points per year, Aviagen said it contributes to a 1% year-on-year carbon footprint reduction.

And it added that, if improvements in FCR continued to 2030, that would create a bird with a 15% lower carbon footprint than today.

The United Nations (UN) estimates just over 8.5 billion people by 2030, and the world will face the challenge of providing food for everyone.

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 predicts that meat production will need to rise by 44 million metric tonnes by 2030, with half of the increase supplied by poultry.

The food industry currently contributes close to 25% of the world’s annual GHG emissions, and of this amount, poultry meat is responsible for about 6%.


Aviagen’s director of global genetics, Santiago Avendaño, said: “In 2020, 133.3 million metric tonnes of poultry meat were produced globally, at a carbon cost of 6 kilograms CO2 for every kilogram of meat. That translates to 800 million tonnes of CO2.

“To illustrate the impact with a hypothetical example, based on our FCR gains, if every bird were an Aviagen bird, this amount would be reduced by 8 million metric tonnes per year.

“To put it in perspective, this is the carbon equivalent of flying around the world on a Boeing 747-400 5,906 times.

“As a poultry breeder, we are at the beginning of the food production chain, and we take our responsibility of contributing to the sustainability of the entire industry seriously.

“We have worked for years to breed efficiencies that make poultry production more sustainable while at the same time advancing bird health, welfare and performance.